"Russia was unable to seize Ukraine by means of military aggression," Ukraine's PM Yatsenyuk blasted, "Now they are implementing plans to seize Ukraine through economic aggression." His comments come after Russia's Gazprom raised prices for gas 81% from $268.50 to $485.50 (on the basis that the previous discount was a subsidy for allowing the use of the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, which Russia now has annexed) to which Yatsenyuk chided "political pressure is unacceptable, and we are not accepting the price of $500." Mr. Yatsenyuk, as WSJ reports, said his government will not pay the new price and will raise the issue in the Stockholm Arbitrage court, which was selected by the two countries years ago to settle the gas disputes - but warned his people that the country should prepare for Russia switching off natural-gas supplies.
Earlier this morning we reported that "Pro-Russia Protesters Seize Government Building In East Ukraine, Demand Autonomy." We suggested that this was only the first city in eastern Ukraine that would see this kind of internal revolt. Sure enough, hours later, the largest city in East Ukraine and one located in close proximity to Russia, Kharkiv, also saw its state building fall to what appear to be pro-Russia protesters, making it the third major city after Donetsk and nearby Luhansk. This coordinated and largely unexpected pro-Russian action triggering accusations from the pro-European government in Kiev that President Vladimir Putin was orchestrating "separatist disorder."
Dr Faber discussed the importance of not owning gold stored in the U.S., the mystery of the Fed gold, why Singapore is safest for gold storage, the risks of bitcoin and how small countries should revert to national currencies. The must watch interview can be watched here ...
While the general sentiment may be that Russia has put its territorial expansion plans vis-a-vis Ukraine on hold, if only for the time being, pro-Russian protesters in East Ukraine, whether premeditated or spontaneous, seem to have not gotten the memo. Earlier today, in a repeat of events that took place just as the pre-Crimea annexation plotline hit a fever pitch, dozens of pro-Russia protesters in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk stormed the regional government building on Sunday and hung a Russian flag, demanding once again for autonomy from Ukraine.
China is coming under close scrutiny these days, as the leadership scurries to find new sources of economic growth and control its debt. Some analysts have reassured China watchers that the Chinese government can simply write off its bad debt, at least within the major banks, and pass it on to the asset management companies that handle that resale of distressed debt (or have it later purchased by the Ministry of Finance). Others have warned that some of the debt is serious, such as that incurred by local government financing vehicles, and are dubious about the sustainability of these entities. To worry or unwind? How much debt can China really absorb?
The ethical problems associated with the US 'drone war', as well as the enormous blow-back potential it harbors are seemingly finally rousing Congress into asking questions. After hundreds of civilian deaths and the enormous help they have reportedly provided to Al Qaeda's recruitment drive in the regions concerned, it may indeed be time to wonder 'who is actually killed' by US drone strikes. It would surely be a case of 'better late than never', but one should actually better not get one's hopes up...
On the heels of Russia's potential "holy grail" gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil "barter" deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar:
U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL; U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS; U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS.
We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness.
On Monday, in "High Frequency Trading: Why Now And What Happens Next" we predicted that "the high freaks are about to become the most convenient, and "misunderstood" scapegoat, for when the market finally does crash. Which means that those HFT-associated terms which very few recognize now, especially those on either side of the pro/anti-HFT debate who have very strong opinions but zero factual grasp of the matter, such as the following:
- Layering: multiple, large orders are placed passively with the goal of “pushing” the book away
Of course, another name for "layering" is "spoofing" which is precisely the term that the SEC used today when it announced that it charged the owner of a New Jersey-based trading firm and several other defendants "in a scheme to manipulate the market through an illegal practice known as "spoofing."
- Nato chief defends eastern advance (FT)
- Russia looks east as it seeks to rebalance trade interests (FT)
- Plane from Guinea briefly quarantined in Paris after Ebola scare (AFP)
- US attacks Japan’s stance on Trans-Pacific Partnership (FT)
- Thank you IMF: Ukraine PM says will stick to austerity despite Moscow pressure (Reuters)
- U.S. Army seeks motive for Fort Hood shooting rampage (Reuters)
- China Slowdown Adds to Emerging-Market Growth Hurdles, IMF Says (BBG)
- Top investors press Allianz to step up oversight of Pimco (Reuters)
- U.S. to Evaluate Role in Mideast Peace Process, John Kerry Says (WSJ)
- Scientists dismiss claims that Yellowstone volcano about to erupt (Reuters)
- Ukraine detains 12 riot police on suspicion of 'mass murder' (Reuters) - on CIA orders?
Yes, even Wall Street is a "victim" of open source.
Having changed her Facebook profile picture to a "V...for Vendetta" face mask, the widow of former Zurich Insurance CFO Pierre Wauthier said she and her family cannot accept Zurich’s claim that his death wasn’t brought on by undue stress. As Bloomberg reports, Switzerland’s biggest insurer said in November that no “undue pressure” was put on Wauthier, who said in a suicide note that then-Chairman Josef Ackermann had created an unbearable working environment. But, his wife is demanding to know why her husband's former boss resigned if he had not accepted blame for the death, and why details of tensions at work were not made public. Her anger is clear, as she blasted "I am not worth talking to... or is it that I would raise unbecoming questions????"
Days after the US escalated, announcing it will be sending a Navy warship back into The Black Sea, and on the heels of NATO ordering its military planners to draft measures to beef up defenses amongst its Eastern European members, Russia is demanding answers for this escalation. As Reuters reports, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said any increase in NATO's permanent presence in eastern Europe would violate a 1997 treaty on NATO-Russian cooperation: "We have addressed questions to the north Atlantic military alliance. We are not only expecting answers, but answers that will be based fully on respect for the rules we agreed on." De-Escalation-Off.
after shocking the world with its unilateral decision to halt Russian money transfers without a direct order from the administration, Reuters reports that JPM has folded and will process said payment from Russia's embassy in Kazakhstan to insurance agency Sogaz, easing tension after Moscow accused the U.S. bank of illegally blocking the transaction under the pretext of sanctions.
The risk that creditors, savers and bondholders, rather than taxpayers will bear the brunt of rescuing a bank in trouble form part of the first credit ratings given to 18 of Europe's biggest banks yesterday by new ratings agency, Scope.
- Russia says expects answers on NATO troops in eastern Europe (Reuters)
- Dealers say GM customer anxiety rising, sales may take hit (Reuters)
- China Unveils Mini-Stimulus Measure (WSJ)
- Londoners Priced Out of Housing Blame Foreigners (BBG)
- New earthquake in Chile prompts tsunami alerts (Reuters)
- Ukrainian Billionaire Charged by U.S. With Bribe Scheme (BBG)
- Chinese Investments in U.S. Commercial Real Estate Surges (BBG)
- Old Math Casts Doubt on Accuracy of Oil Reserve Estimates (BBG)
- US secretly created 'Cuban Twitter' to stir unrest (AP)